How to Maximize Paralegal Support

Are you getting the most out of your paralegals? If you don’t have paralegals, but are getting ready to start using them in your practice, do you know how to maximize their potential? The paralegal profession was created to take a load off of attorneys by allowing paralegals to perform much of the substantive legal work traditionally handled by attorneys.  Paralegals receive specialized training to learn these skills, whether from the attorneys they work for, through formal education, or both. Certain types of attorneys know how to capitalize on a paralegal’s skills and value, but many more struggle to wrap their arms around the breadth and depth of support available from paralegals.  Here are a few tips to help you maximize paralegal support to its fullest potential: Get to know your paralegal.  Seriously.  There’s a strong bond between an attorney and his or her paralegal.  It’s a professional relationship built … Continue reading

Virtual support: An attorney’s perspective

I’m sure most of you have heard of Legal Talk Network.  Legal Talk Network has great shows for legal professionals.  So many so that listing just a few would be a disservice to the rest.  If you’re not familiar with the shows that are available, I’ll let you take a look for yourself, so you don’t miss any.  (The best place to get a quick overview of the shows and the topics they cover is actually on the Advertising page.) So why am I talking about Legal Talk Network?  I want to share a specific podcast with you.  This one is from the Legal Toolkit hosted by Jared Correia.  In this podcast, Mr. Correia interviews Chad Burton of Burton Law LLC, a virtual law firm in Dayton, Ohio. The topic: Virtual Staffing: Implementation and Management In this interview, Mr. Burton talks about how to find, implement, and manage virtual staff; … Continue reading

Do you have a paralegal billing rate?

Not too long ago, I was talking with a young solo practitioner who needed help with trial prep.  He has a growing practice but isn’t quite ready to hire employees; he does, however, need help – especially on larger cases.  After he asked about my fees, he responded that he’d need to see if they were okay with his client.  It’s not the first time I’ve had such a conversation with a young attorney and I immediately knew that he did not yet have his billing rates established. It’s difficult enough for young solos to develop their own billing rate (see, Are you pricing for success (or failure)).  When you’re starting your own practice, hiring personnel is generally the last financial obligation on your mind.  A solo is used to doing everything alone.  It’s not until much later, when the pressure of growth starts to suffocate, that thoughts of billing … Continue reading

Are you pricing for success (or failure)?

Solo practitioners endure many challenges. They are the “go to” person for everything: They are their own IT person, supply person, mail clerk, secretary, paralegal, bookkeeper, and everything in between (in addition to providing legal services to their clients)! If you are, or have been, a solo, you already know this all too well. Juggling so many hats makes it difficult to grow a practice because so much time is spent on so many things other than marketing, networking, and practicing law. As a result, it’s not uncommon for solos to spend their career struggling to create a sustainable practice while others simply give up the solo life. Those who persevere and find themselves growing have even more pain points. At least for a while. There comes a point, though, when every entrepreneur realizes there are only so many hours in a day and that one person can only do … Continue reading

Paralegal Support Services as Referral Sources

Paralegals, especially paralegal support providers, are one of attorneys’ top referral sources. When I worked in private practice, I knew the attorneys in the office where I worked, but could really only speak to the abilities of the attorneys I worked with directly.  In a general practice firm, I knew we had certain attorneys that worked in certain areas of law more than others did.  That was it though.  If someone asked me who I recommended as an attorney in a certain area of law, my ability to respond was sorely limited. When I worked in-house, I not only had the opportunity to work closely with my in-house attorneys, but attorneys in our other offices, as well as outside counsel and counsel from around the state (and sometimes beyond) who represented related-interest parties.  In this capacity, it was pretty easy to get a feel for which attorneys stood out from … Continue reading

How to Supervise a Legal Secretary or Paralegal

A couple weeks ago, Above the Law published an excellent article by New York attorney Joshua Stein. Mr. Stein’s article, From the Career Files: How to Supervise a Secretary or Assistant, is an excellent article well worth mentioning with 21 detailed tips and advice for effectively working with any type of assistant. The article is well-rounded, covering everything from communication to personal stuff. If you work with anyone, or are thinking about doing so, the article is worth taking the time to read. Even if you don’t, you may want to file it away for future reference. When you’re done reading it, come back and let us know what you think. What other tips or advice do you have for effective supervising?